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Evolving Systems Course: PGnotes16

Paul Grobstein's picture

Making sense of ourselves in an evolving universe

Paul's notes - Session 16


Course subject: evolution (physical, biological, cultural, individual)

Course method: co-evolution, co-constructive inquiry, evolving by telling/hearing each other's stories, using them to create new ones, individually and collectively = co-constructive dialogue

Course arrangements:

  • Thoughts from this week's discussion in forum by Monday evening.
  • Paper for Wednesday: do some research on the life on an individual whose evolution interests you.  Write a brief biography of that person focusing on what you find interesting.
  • Read for Thursday discussion
  • Individual meetings
    Thursdays Group A Group B
    9 am Elisa Genesis
    9:30 Aijingwen Julie
    2:30 Ilana Christine
    3:00 Angela  
    3:30 Hillary  
    4:00 Eva Valentina
    4:30 Mattie Kayla
    5:00 Carolina Jordan


Culture as consequence of biological evolution?  Addition to biological evolution?  Differs from biological evolution in what ways?

diversityloopscales biocultdiffs evolfashion
the whole course? evolution biological and cultural: similarities and differences? fashion: a test case of cultural evolution as descent with variation and selection?


Culture and cultural change

  • What similar and different cultural practices have developed in our two esem section meetings?
  • What new cultural practices might evolve from the intersection of the two?

Moving on to individual change

  • Biological change influence cultural change and vice versa
  • So too cultural change influences biological change and vice versa?

Cosmicomics: An Epic Search for Truth

  • Reactions?  What single character, event, idea most interested you?  most puzzled you?

PG's center of the story (pp 285-288) - interacting individual and cultural change

  • Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) - Can we solve human problems rationally?
  • Gregory Cantor (1845-1918) - There is no "everything"
  • Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) - "There will always be unanswered questions." (Russell: the Incompleteness Theorem meant the end of a Dream ... written in Greek two and a half millenia ago"
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) "What we cannot speak of, we must pass over in silence ... The things that cannot be talked about logically are the only ones that are truly important."
  • Nelson Goodman (1906-1998) "The answer to the question 'What is the way the world is? What are the ways the world is?' is not a shush, but a chatter."

Despite ongoing cultural change, ongoing individual change, there is only evolution